The Vatican Court Condemned to Continue in Place?

February 01, 2022

On January 25, 2022, at the Vatican court where former members of the Secretariat of State are being tried, the prosecution and the defense crossed swords on procedure, giving the sense of a stalled trial, where they are trying to buy time. The next hearing will be on February 18, where yet another attempt will be made to finally get to the heart of the matter.

On December 14, 2021, Giuseppe Pignatone had expressed hope that the following January 25 hearing – the sixth since the start of the trial in July – would end the procedural phase in which the London building trial seems mired.

The president of the Vatican Tribunal was not heard. Less than an hour after entering the courtroom, on the feast of the conversion of St. Paul, the magistrate was forced to postpone the hearing to February 18, 2022.

The interrogation of one of the key witnesses in the case, Msgr. Alberto Perlasca – former head of office at the Secretariat of State – dating from November 2020, was once again at the heart of the sparring between the promoter of justice, Alessandro Diddi, and the lawyers of Cardinal Angelo Maria Becciu, the main accused, absent from the hearing on January 25, 2022.

The lawyers for the former deputy secretary of state accused the prosecution of having exceeded its jurisdiction by asking Msgr. Perlasca if he knew, yes or no, whether the Sardinian cardinal had had an inappropriate relationship with a another accused, Cécilia Marogna.

The latter, accused of having received 500,000 euros from the former substitute, declares having used these sums for significant expenditure on luxury goods – for third parties, and for herself. Work costs according to her, consequences of her “informal status as a diplomat” at the Secretariat of State.

The minutes of the interrogation show Msgr. Perlasca denying any inappropriate behavior on the part of the high prelate, while Alessandro Diddi is insistent, recalling that an actor from Italian television had produced a sketch suggesting that Cécilia Marogna was more than intimate with the cardinal: “Why didn't the latter sue the artist for defamation, if everything was false?” asks the promoter of justice.

According to Msgr. Becciu's lawyers, the line chosen for the interrogation would have violated the code of procedure of the Holy See, which prohibits questioning witnesses about the morality of other defendants: “for my part, I am serene about the way in which the work has been accomplished,” defended the promoter of justice.

Alessandro Diddi definitely stole the show from all the other players at the hearing, filing seven new charges and a new request for a summons to appear concerning four figures suspected of having played a leading role in the scandal and who were quickly dismissed from the trial for procedural defect.

They are the financier Raffaele Mincione, the lawyer Nicola Squillace, the former employee of the Secretariat of State Fabrizio Tirabassi, and especially Msgr. Mauro Carlino, secretary to Cardinal Becciu at the time of the events.

Four men who have refused, tooth and nail, since the start of the trial, to face the accusation: the ball is now in the court of the president of the Court, who is allowing himself a few days to examine the new charges filed.

It remains to be seen whether the hearing on February 18 will finally make it possible for the condemned trial to finally pick up its stride, which has so far moved forward at a snail’s pace.